Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Smelling the roses

It is a simplistic attitude, but one whose truism dominates and attracts: to enjoy life and have the capacity to relish in it.

“Stopping to smell the roses” is all well and good to declare when you don’t have much to do, or when you are in a position to reverse life’s onward march; however, for most of us, the stresses of daily living, of trying to make a living, and of the uncontrollable demands that beset us every day, undermines the advice of the sage: yes, tranquility can reflect a healthy mind and slowing of pace can lead to longevity and stave off mortality’s inevitable decline; but how does one contend with and control modernity’s screaming frenzy?

The appendage to the image of “smelling the roses,” of course, is the admonition to “pause” or “stop and” take the time; but is our loss of olfactory sensitivity a result of our lack of use?  How many of us even notice the scent of a flower, whether when we walk into a room or meander along a country path? Instead, most of us sneeze with irritation, beset with asthmatic symptoms of allergic disdain, and view such niceties as merely one of life’s obstacles to overcome and ignore.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the concept of pausing and “smelling the roses” is the last thing to consider, and life’s travails will only continue to shout and scream to prevent such a prosaic declaration.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will not necessarily allow for greater time to smell those roses, but it will allow for more time to attend to one’s own health — and isn’t that the point?

We take for granted our health, but when our health begins to deteriorate, the stresses begin to compound and exponentially aggregate.

Smelling the roses comes only after the priorities of our life have been placed into proper order, and preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits when it becomes necessary is the first step towards reaching for the ultimate paradigm of life’s resistance to the stresses inherent and overwhelming: Health; life; relationships — then, to pause in order to smell the roses.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement: Damaged goods

Perhaps it is of a fine porcelain statue; or a painting that depicts perfection in a pastoral panorama presenting a private purview of picturesque purity (sorry for the alliteration that cannot be resisted); or a first edition book that is without blemish; or a host of other “goods” that one values, admires, cherishes — and is purchased with anticipation of contentment.

Upon returning home, one notices an imperfection not previously spotted: a small “crack” on the forearm of the porcelain figure; a tear in the upper right portion of the canvas, just below the line where the frame casts a shadow and becomes almost imperceptible; or a crayon marking on page 324, in the middle of the book, unnoticed unless one inspects each and every page.

The item cannot be returned, because of either distance (perhaps it was purchased on international travel in a small shop in a foreign country not known for return policies); policy (the sign clearly stated, “All sales are final and the purchaser bears all responsibility in inspecting the condition of the item prior to buying”) or some other impracticable reason.

The imperfection is so minor that no one else knows, would notice or otherwise cares to comment on such an impurity of the state of the condition, except for one small and irritating fact: You know.  It bothers you.  The fact of the damaged goods betrays something about yourself — not merely that a contrast against a paradigm of perfection has stirred an irrationality that struggles against good judgment, but moreover, that there exists an intolerance for a standard of less than the penultimate apex of an unreachable standard.

What does one do?  You can: Hide and stash away the item (but it yet remains with the knowledge that, hidden or not, the aura of imperfection exists); you can give it as a gift, or sell it to a third party (but what if the potential purchaser recognizes the imperfection and bargains for a better price, leaving you with a loss — will that constantly remind you of your lack of judgment when once you thought that your expertise in such matters was the paradigm of perfection itself?); justify to yourself over and over that, “Yes, it isn’t perfect, but boy is it a great piece regardless!” (perhaps, over time, this approach may work); or, do the most drastic of solutions: destroy the item and trash it.

Medical conditions have a way of impacting individuals in a similar manner as the discovery of imperfection in what one once thought was a paradigm of perfection: somehow, it is even worse, because of the personal manner that medical conditions impact: it touches upon one’s self, one’s self-image and the crumbling sense of self-confidence one possessed when health was taken for granted.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, always try and keep in mind that the diminution of the “product” concerned (i.e., yourself, the Federal or Postal employee) is not discovered by the mere fact of filing for Federal Disability Retirement — rather, the fault is in the system of the Federal Government for not being able to be patient as you struggle to recover from you illness or injury.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset is not a reflection on the “value” of you; it is, instead, the reality of a system that fails to recognize the difference between the relative value of “goods” as opposed to the priceless perfection of a human being and his or her contribution to society.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement from the Office of Personnel Management: Predictions

How did the first person accurately predict the oncoming change of weather?  Of course, some would contend that no one has accurately predicted such a thing, and would scoff at the thought.  Was it merely by observation?

Why did logic not overtake the attempt at prediction — of Hume’s contention that there is no such thing as a “necessary connection” between cause and effect, but merely a repetition of events that can be defied when, in the next instance, what one expected may turn out to be wrongly presumed?  Or of other events — of the outcome of a contest between two teams; of great horse races, the Triple Crown, or even of Olympic events: Can accuracy of predictions be statistically enhanced by observation, analysis, careful scrutiny and always with a bit of luck included?

And in the field of medicine — is a “prognosis” the same, or similar to, a “prediction” of sorts?  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the requirements necessary in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset includes a “prediction” of sorts — a prognosis that the medical condition will last a minimum of 12 months from the date of the application.

This does not mean that a Federal or Postal worker must wait for 12 months to establish that the medical condition itself will last that long, but merely that the medical condition itself will last a minimum of 12 months from the time one applies for Federal Disability Retirement — which, as a practical matter, makes sense because it takes about the same amount of time, on average, to get an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and there would essentially be no point in filing if, upon an approval, you no longer suffer from the medical condition itself.

A “prognosis” is, indeed, a type of prediction, and most doctors will be able to provide “within a reasonable degree of medical certainty” as to the lasting effects and enduring nature of a medical condition, based upon experience, analysis and clinical encounters.

Now, as for the weather…

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Claims: Determined Lives

Can it be viewed in at least two different ways and meanings?  Of a life that involves determination — i.e., in the sense of forcefulness, enduring faith and strength of character?  Or, in another sense, of being already fated, without choices or options to consider?

Thus are determined lives characterized, and bifurcated into two camps of perspectives, although the one is not exclusive of the other by necessity.

Most people experience both sets of experiences, often intersecting with one another depending upon the circumstances faced.  In some set of circumstances, one may have complete control over the direction and purposive intent of one’s life, activities involved and goals to be met — and by sheer determination, one may in fact accomplish and meet those desired ends.

Then, there are times and contexts when one’s life seems to be determined — where the control of one’s future is not within the purview of one’s own desire or effort, but by some distant force of persuasion cannot be easily influenced by one’s own will and determination.  A medical condition is one such instance.  One has no control over the fact of a medical condition, only of its effects and consequences, and even that, much of it is left in the hands of a doctor or specialist.

Loss of control — of living a determined life (second meaning) as opposed to a determined life (first meaning) — is a feeling that no one desires, and for Federal and Postal employees who sense that the loss of control is expanding into other areas of one’s life — as in one’s employment, ability to maintain a working schedule, and the loss of capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job: it may be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

The distinction may be a subtle one — of living a determined life (second sense) or a determined life (first sense) — but the distinction may make all the difference in the world, depending upon what your next steps are.  Consult with an attorney who specializes in helping Federal employees obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits in order to avoid the determined life (second sense), and attain a determined life (first sense).

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: Bumps along the road

On any trip or travel, how many bumps are felt or experienced along the road?  Many are imperceptible; some are noticeable; a few may be jarring to the effect that it jolts one from the automatic-consciousness-mode of how most people remain while driving.  But what impact does the entirety of the aggregate have upon both the vehicle being driven and the individual sitting behind the wheel?

Take first those almost-imperceptible bumps — what effect do they have, over the life of a car, upon all of the parts, bolts, springs, complex computer systems, etc.?

We know that, over time, stresses and metal fatigue over many trips and upon thousands of miles of travel can result in the sudden breakup of an airplane engine, or when a catastrophic event suddenly occurs where a car stops running or a plane crumbles in mid-flight, we come to the realization that the aggregate of imperceptible bumps can, over time, cumulatively have the effect of a single jarring event.

The fact that they are ‘imperceptible’ doesn’t mean that they don’t exist, nor that they have no impact; rather, it is just that we do not perceive them.  That is the old Berkeley problem in existential philosophical discourse, is it not?  Of the following: Do mountains exist on the far side of the moon despite the fact that we do not see them?  Does perception equal existence, or merely one’s perspective upon an opinion concerning such existence?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition necessitates the effective preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the bumps along the road in the complex administrative morass of a Federal Disability Retirement process will be many and sometimes overwhelming.

Some of the proverbial ‘bumps’ may be minor and merely irritating; others, looming large and difficult to conquer.  To ensure that the ‘ride’ is smooth and relatively trouble-free, you may want to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest the bumps along the road result in a jarring decision of denial issued by OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: The problem perspective

Does “positive thinking” actually work?  Or, is it one of those pithy approaches to life, where the “throwaway” line is used to dismiss unpleasantries and negative influences that might otherwise disprove the obvious — that life is difficult enough without listening to the difficulties of others?  Then, there is the “problem perspective” — of seeing everything as a problem as opposed to a solution or opportunity, and to see the world as a glass half-empty in contradistinction to a half-full universe.

Objectively, of course, both descriptions reflect the same objective reality; the contention is that “how” we view the world (i.e., our subjective perspective upon the world around us) influences the manner in which we approach the objective world in deliberating, solving, resolving, tackling problems, embracing situations, etc.

The “problem perspective” describes a person who sees everything from the vantage point of a problem.  It is all well and good, of course, to speak about having a “positive” frame of mind when things are going well; it is when actual, objective problems and difficulties arise in one’s life, that the “real test” of whether “positive thinking” works comes into question.

Objectively, of course, one could argue that, whether one possesses a “positive” mindset, a “negative” perspective, or a somewhat neutral approach, the outside world (that “noumenal” universe that Kant referred to) cares not a twit about what we “think” (i.e., the phenomenal universe that Kant distinguished — the one that we actually have access to) about it — for, it still exists whether we have a positive, negative or neutral perspective, anyway.

It is when the objective world impinges upon the subjective perspective with an undeniable negation of the positive — as in, a medical condition that debilitates and makes for a painful existence, whether physically or cognitively — that the test of whether a “positive” outlook works, or whether a “negative” perspective makes a difference, tests our daily lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the approach one takes may indeed make a difference with a real distinction.  Yes, the end of one’s Federal or Postal career may be coming; and, yet, the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service may well move to terminate you based upon your growing inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job.

In the end, such a “problem perspective” is a very real one, and becomes a problem precisely because there is a combination of both the “objective” world (the medical condition itself) and the “subjective” one (what to do about it; the next steps to be taken; the decision to be made, etc.).

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may not only be the best “next step” to take — it may be the “only” one in the sense that all other options are undesirable: to stay and suffer; to resign and walk away without doing anything; or to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

In the end, all “problem perspectives” need a positive solution, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is the best and positive solution for a Federal or Postal employee needing to resolve the problem perspective where one’s medical condition no longer allows for the fulfillment of all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Cycles of reality & unreality

The linear model of life is the preferred perspective for the Western world; the cyclical, for the traditional Eastern sector, as well as the indigenous cultures of the Americas; whether such an outlook alters the way in which we live is debatable.  In either or for both, however, it is the passing through of various realities and “unrealities” that is often overlooked, and not whether or not there is a straight and linear road as opposed to a cycle of returns and reenactments.

Reality is the being we encounter; unreality, the life within our minds and souls, depicted by thoughts, emotions, daydreams and nightmares.  How the two interact, whether in cyclical form or in a linear continuum, often defines how well we are able to adjust in maneuvering through the difficult passages of life.

We encounter “others” in the reality of our being; but as to the “other” person’s thoughts, feelings, history of life and other subjective issues, we know nothing about them except what we are told.  We could work beside another individual in an office setting and never truly know the “unreality” of his or her life, and when we retire, the office throws a party, and we depart and suddenly realize that the cycle of reality was a limited one, and the subjective unreality of another person’s life never really touched us.

Or, one is married to another for a decade, two decades, perhaps even three, and a cycle of reality is embraced where life becomes a routine, taking each other for granted through habit of form, monotony of repetition and predictability of actions.  Yet, after some decades, the significant other does something completely “out of character” – suddenly dyes his or her hair purple, goes bungee jumping or unannounced gets his or her nose pierced without telling anyone.  When asked, the reply is: “Oh, I got bored and decided to do something different.”

That is when the cycle of unreality suddenly surfaces into the boundaries of reality, and we suddenly realize, again and again, and are reminded fortuitously, that there is a subjective unreality that we can never quite pierce or fully comprehend, just as others cannot of our own.

That is what often happens with a medical condition.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question often asked is:  “When do I tell my agency”?  Isn’t that a peculiar question – as if no one at the agency knew or knows about your ongoing medical condition, and that filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM is going to be a complete surprise to everyone?

But that is, indeed, the reality of the unreal, where those around you are completely oblivious of the pain, the turmoil and the complications of those medical conditions you have had to deal with for so many years.  It is, in one sense, rather sad; but it represents the cycles of reality & unreality in an uncaring universe which prompts such an empty feeling when the question asked doesn’t quite have an answer to be given.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire